February 28, 2011

Canyonlands, Day 3, Goat Park

The original plan for Day 3 was to ride across the lower end of Horseshoe Canyon (outside the national park) and over to Cowboy Cave, described here
However, as anyone knows, the best laid plans of mice and men sometimes go awry, especially in canyon country.  The photo above may give a hint of the topography of the 750 foot drop into the canyon. Topo maps and even Google Earth don't really tell the whole story on cliffs.  Steve's planned route turned out to be all slickrock (Navajo standstone), and just too steep for a safe descent on horseback.  Actually, I'm not sure I would have been willing to do it on foot.
Steve studied the map and GPS, trying to come up with an alternative.  (Note his snazzy shemagh.  These are worn by Arabs and Kurds, who've been living with desert winds, sun and sand for centuries.  Steve read some books about the desert people and decided he needed his own shemagh.  Next time, I want one!) We rode along the rim for a ways, but we didn't find a route across the canyon.
On to Plan B. On the ride from our campsite, we had noticed an old road going up a meadow called Goat Park.  It turned out to provide some great riding. (I know I look like I gained about 50 pounds over the winter, but that's the burly down vest's fault.)
 We had views all the way to the Book Cliffs to the north, at least 60 miles away.
The "Red Nubs", aptly named, provided interesting views.
This monolith protruded out of the earth from the top of a little hill.  It dwarfed man and beast.
We found very little water, but a few patches of snow sustained Daisy.  We also had extra water to give her if necessary.  We found sandstone pocket water for the horses, but they weren't willing to drink much. 
Our lunch break was overlooking Blue John Canyon. Some of you may have heard the story of a hiker who was trapped by a boulder in a slot canyon and had to cut off his own arm with a pocket knife to save himself. A movie "127 Hours" was made about the incident that happened a few miles down this very canyon.


  1. Its easy to forget just how much vast land this country has.. without a single building or person in sight.

    Thanks for the beautiful reminder, Janie.

    Happy trails ;)

  2. Mmm, making me miss Utah! Plans shmans! I hear ya :) Looks like such a great time, I wanna play!

  3. Steve always has the best in headgear. It looks like it works well with his hat. I could have a shemagh back when I was on lots of construction sites where I had to wear a hardhat. My head sure did get cold.

    Quite the adventure you guys are having. A map and a gps can get you in some dead ends sometimes. Just ask my wife.

    I've read articles about the guy portrayed in 127 hours. I am not seeing the movie.

  4. a shemagh would come in handy on the desert. I love that view across the canyon of the Lasal's and looking back to the bookcliffs. Spectacular.

  5. What a beautiful adventure. It must be cold out there but Daisy doesn't seam to care.
    The Red Nubs looks like beautiful sculpture, nature is the most talented artist.

  6. absolutely beautiful photos....

  7. We just saw the Dateline show on the guy who had to saw off his arm. Ouch! That countryside is so beautiful. I like the "nubs."

  8. Beautiful scenery and I love the red colored earth and monolith!

  9. The scenery is wonderful - very photogenic. I'm intrigued by the red, red soil. There sure are a lot of ups and downs that wouldn't show on most maps.

  10. I recall an SUV in the news a few years ago that drove off a cliff (in Canyonlands?) while the driver was wathing his GPS screen... And then there's the recent Subaru commercial in the same 'hood. Love that country.

  11. I'm watching 127 Hours right now and I remembered that you were just here. James Franco was in Telluride and I saw him talk about the making of the film during the Film Festival. Definitely not a place to hike alone without telling anyone where you are!

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